Ready to turn in your lease? Record used car prices could mean a financial bonanza

For savvy motorists who’ve been leasing vehicles they’re now ready to turn in, record-high used car prices could mean a financial bonanza.

After tumbling to recession-era levels during the early months of the pandemic, the auto market roared back with a vengeance early this year. Dealers are struggling to find product to sell, fueling surging prices all around. With few new cars on showroom lots, motorists have been snapping up whatever used cars they can find.

Josh Frankel, a New York-based financial consultant, found that his leased 2018 Jeep Compass was worth $18,000 on the used car market — nearly $3,000 more than the buyout value in his lease contract. So rather than turn the SUV back in, Frankel struck a deal to sell it to a used car wholesaler.

“It couldn’t have been easier,” he said by phone. “I didn’t have to lay out a penny. He came to

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Get ready to compromise as chip shortage limits options, raises prices

In the age of seemingly endless options for cereal, condiments and candies, choice is often taken for granted.

But these days, choice is a luxury when it comes to buying a new or used vehicle.

With the global semiconductor chip shortage hobbling automotive production, vehicle availability is constrained and prices are soaring as automakers are struggling to keep up with demand.

The upshot for consumers shopping for a new or used vehicle during the July 4 holiday weekend is that flexibility is paramount.

That is, embrace the Rolling Stones philosophy: You can’t always get what you want.

Chip shortage hobbles availability

“The No. 1 thing – and it will be really obvious when people show up at the dealership lot – is there simply won’t be the selection you’re accustomed to,” said Ivan Drury, analyst at car research site Edmunds.

Consumer Reports: These are the 10 most and

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How the pandemic led to a rental car crisis just as Americans are ready to bust loose

“Usually car rental is an afterthought,” said Benjamin Tuttle, a computer-assisted design programmer from Minnesota, who was taken aback when Hertz quoted him a price of $240 per day to rent a sedan to tour Colorado’s Rocky Mountain National Park.

The industry backfire illustrates that the post-pandemic recovery, while strong, may not be entirely smooth. As more retail businesses reopen, many report trouble hiring enough workers to cope with surging demand. Manufacturers complain that raw materials are scarce – a semiconductor shortage that hobbled auto production is making it hard for companies like Avis to restock.

“The covid shock was unlike anything we have experienced before. As we go into the recovery phase, we’re going to see friction and disruption in the normal flow of economic activity,” said Kathy Bostjancic, chief U.S. financial economist for Oxford Economics. “It’s going to be a bit erratic and disrupted, but the pace of

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